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Devotion for Nov. 14, 2009

Devotions

Moody Bible Institute alumni Tim and Jerenne Block had an unusual start to their marriage. Their original wedding date had to be moved up so that Jerenne could provide live-in care to Tim as he recovered from a near-fatal car accident. After further education, Tim became the junior-high pastor at Grace Church in Edina, Minnesota. Throughout their years with students, they scarcely could have imagined the far-reaching impact of their ministry. Several years after the Blocks left Edina to minister in Arizona, former students decided to honor them by establishing the Block Scholarship for Youth Ministry at Moody. For one former student, Dan Berglund, his appreciation for the Block's ministry has deepened over the years: "I've realized that they are exceptionally rare, and I thank the Lord for my time in their ministry."

The health trials that the Blocks faced early in their marriage contributed to their ability to minister to others. The gratitude of their former students has resulted in a scholarship fund that will bless future generations of youth ministers. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul writes, "All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God" (v. 15).

In today's passage, Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to give generously to the fund for impoverished believers in Jerusalem. We find several remarkable principles of ministry at work in this passage. First, God wants us to be generous in our ministry because the harvest we reap is the abundant joy that comes from being a part of God's work. Second, we need not worry about coming up short when we give, because God will generously supply our own needs when we are generous. Third, when we minister to others, we not only help meet their needs (v. 12), but we also cause others to give thanks to God in the process.

Apply the Word

Some people wrongly think that today's passage teaches us to give so that we can get something back in return. As we read carefully, however, it's clear that Paul has in mind a generosity of spirit that involves both our resources and our selves. It's amazing to think that our generous response to the gospel provides opportunities for others to give thanks to God. This brings an added dimension to our giving. All giving ultimately points back to the greatest gift of all——Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 9:15).

BY Dana M. Harris

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